Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Location, Location Location

By the Bray of Fundie

All of Eretz Yisrael is Eretz Haqodesh= Holy Land/ground. But some spots have a more elevated Qedusha than the balance of the Holy Land e.g. the City of Jerusalem and the Har HaBayis. The elevated Qedusha of these spots are relatively easy to "understand" as being matters of divine election. כִּי אִם-אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר-יִבְחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ="but at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell in. " But to claim that a particular locations elevated Qedusha might result from the refined and sanctified behavior of it's residents, that elevated Qedusha of real estate derives from an exercise of human free will, is something that never occurred to me. Until now.

Why were the ancient Levi-towns designated as refuge cities for man-slaughterers? The Sefer HaKhinukh in Mitzva 408 provides two consciousness expanding answers, but for now I'd like to discuss only the first.

"And because of their (the Levites) lofty level, the refinement of their works, and the comeliness of their value /stature (??? חין ערכם ) their land was chosen to provide sanctuary for all those who kill souls accidentally more so than the lands of any of the other tribes. Perhaps the soil that has been sanctified with their sanctity will provide atonement for them (the man-slaughterers) "

What is striking is that the Khinukh eschews the more rational pedagogical approach; that hanging out with the Levi'im the man-slaughterers will have good role models to emulate, in favor of an obscurantist, metaphysical approach i.e. that the Levi'im infuse the soil of their towns with holiness and this holiness may edify the murderers and heal their soul-sickness.

Some points to ponder:

A) Does this dynamic work anywhere or only in Eretz Yisrael/Ever HaYarden that has intrinsic sanctity to start with?

B) If indeed this works anywhere perhaps it's time for our Yeshivas and Batei Yaakov to manifest a little communal faith and confidence and end their snobbish, cliquish. exclusionary admission policies that reject students from "less than perfect homes". After all if we're so sure that Yeshiva-leit and Kollel-leit are the latter day Levi'im (see the last passage of the Rambam in the laws of Shmita and Yovel) then the very ground of our Schools ought to be sanctified to the point that they can soul-cure all who take up residence there. And besides, none of the rejected students /students parents ridiculously exaggerated misdemeanors rise to the level of manslaughter. In any event the Yeshivas and Batei Yaakov IN Eretz Yisrael ought to revamp their admissions policies.

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